Jamby given 3 days to explain why she shouldn’t be charged for online contest

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Monday gave senatorial candidate Jamby Madrigal three days to explain why she should not be charged with an election offense for holding an online contest with an iPad as prize.

In a letter dated February 25, lawyer Esmeralda Amora-Ladra, head of the Comelec law department, said Madrigal could have violated Section 261 of the Omnibus Election Code on vote-buying and vote-selling and Section 7 of Resolution 9616, implementing Section 97 of OEC, which prohibits holding of games for support of any candidate.

Ladra said that on February 15, the Comelec education and information department received a report that Madrigal was allegedly holding a game through Facebook and Twitter and promised to give an iPad to the winner.

“In your Twitter account Jamby Madrigal @Thereal Jamby, it appeared that you were encouraging others to speak their mind about corruption and win an iPad. Your account specifically showed that you made the tweet on February 15, 2013 at 9: 07 am,” she said.

Madrigal, a former senator and presidential candidate, has earlier apologized for holding the contest, saying it was her supporters who were behind it.

In her letter to Madrigal, Ladra noted that the candidate’s Facebook page showed more detailed information on the mechanics of the game. Madrigal allegedly even encouraged the followers with words “Let’s play a fun game” on February 14, 2013.

“This fun game is for everyone. Join na!” on February 15, 2013; and “Come visit my fan page”…a FREE iPad may just be waiting for you” on February 15, 2013,” Ladra quoted Madrigal’s page.

She also noted the promotional photo posted on the Facebook page of Madrigal, which stated that “dadadaFRIENDS of jajajaJAMBY want you to win a free iPad.”

“Your compliance hereto shall guide the Commission in its consideration on the matter,” said Ladra in the letter.

Section 261 of the Omnibus Election Code defines vote-buying as “any person who gives, offers or promises money or anything of value, gives or promises any office or employment, franchise or grant, public or private, or makes or offers to make an expenditure, directly or indirectly, or cause an expenditure to be made to any person, association, corporation, entity, or community in order to induce anyone or the public in general to vote for or against any candidate or withhold his vote in the election, or to vote for or against any aspirant for the nomination or choice of a candidatein a convention or similar selection process of a political party.”

Vote-selling, meanwhile, is “any person, association, corporation, group or community who solicits or receives, directly or indirectly, any expenditure or promise of any office or employment, public or private, for any of the foregoing considerations.”

While Section 97 of the Omnibus Election Code states that “it shall be unlawful for any person to hold dances, lotteries, cockfights, games, boxing bouts, bingo, beauty contests, entertainments, or cinematographic, theatrical or other performances for the purpose of raising funds for an election campaign or for the support of any candidate from the commencement of the election period up to and including election day.”

It also states that it shall be unlawful “for any person or organization, whether civic or religious, directly or indirectly, to solicit and/or accept from any candidate for public office, or from his campaign manager, agent or representative, or any person acting in their behalf, any gift, food, transportation, contribution or donation in cash or in kind from the commencement of the election period up to and including election day.” — Amita O. Legaspi/KBK, GMA News

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